A large collection of seeds of various vegetables and indigenous plants, especially those which were believed to be on the verge of extinction, are available in the seed bank, being operated through "Adukkala Thottam" (Kitchen Garden), a Facebook community which now has more than 20,000 members. (Agencies)
TT Muhammad Kutty, a retired government employee hailing from Kottakkal in Malappuram district, is the man behind the ‘green’ social networking.
‘Kuttikka’, as he is fondly called by his friends and admirers, collects seeds from the community members and posts its details in the Facebook. Interested members can ask for the seeds and Kutty sends it to them via post.
While some persons come directly to collect the seeds, others, especially those living outside the country, ask for seeds with the help of their friends and relatives.
"My prime aim is to cultivate interest for farming among our fellow beings and make them self-sufficient in the case of vegetables. Cultivating vegetables in our own kitchen gardens will help us avoid the poisonous ones available in the market and keep hazardous diseases at bay," Kutty said.
"Some members in our group may have a collection of good quality seeds of a particular vegetable. They may send this to me. I will publish its details in the Facebook. The other members who want the seeds will send me a self-addressed cover, with a postal stamp affixed on it. I will soon send the seeds to them via post," the 64-year-old farming enthusiast said.
Kutty sorts out the seeds and keeps them in separate boxes in his self-designed 'seed bank' in his house.
A list of the name of the new seeds and the details of the farmers is prepared and updated in the Facebook community daily. "The daily update will help the community members know about the new arrivals in the seed bank," he said.
Good quality seeds of many indigenous plant varieties like 'Nithya Vazhuthana', 'Puli Venda', 'Chathura Payar' and 'Sindoora Varikka', which were feared to have gone extinct, are now available in Kutty's seed bank.
Besides the distribution of seeds, various farming techniques and tips are also shared through the 'Adukkala Thottam' community.
"When community members post pictures of the plants which they grow using the seeds sourced from the seed bank, I am on cloud nine. It gives me the same delight as that of the birth of a newborn in my family," he said.
“The community members are also organizing family get-togethers and agro meets in many places. They are also receiving the support of agriculture experts and local nature campaigners,” Kutty added.
A large collection of seeds of various vegetables and indigenous plants, especially those which were believed to be on the verge of extinction, are available in the seed bank, being operated through "Adukkala Thottam" (Kitchen Garden), a Facebook community which now has more than 20,000 members.